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On Growth and Form Summary
D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson

Everything you need to understand or teach On Growth and Form by D'Arcy Wentworth Thompson.

  • On Growth and Form Summary & Study Guide
  • 1 Biography
  • 1 Encyclopedia Article
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On Growth and Form Summary


On Growth and Form, first published in 1917 and then republished in 1942 by Cambridge University Press, is D'Arcy Thompson's radical departure from standard zoology. Looking outside the scope of comparative morphology and evolution, he sought to study nature from a mathematical perspective. He looked to both ancient as well as modern texts to pull together his observations on the development of form and structure in living things. The resulting text is a poetic treatise dedicated to the wonders of nature.

What makes his observations so rich is his careful consideration and blending of philosophy, literature, and mathematical principle. The reader may hope to encounter the philosophy of Goethe or Hegel or perhaps the mention of Darwin (who was a personal acquaintance of Thompson's) or Galileo, among others. But what makes the text so remarkable is the melding or blending of the literary and the mathematical. In addition to being a...

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On Growth and Form Study Guide

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